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Jan
22

Intermittent at best…I do not wait well.  However, I long for the next big thing.  I yearn for something great.  I dream of the sky being cracked open and for God’s voice to cosmically and personally validate my experience, my knowledge, my calling and my hopes and desires.  You see, I wait, but I only wait for my preponderances to be incarnated and for my beliefs to be validated.  I have it all figured out.  I simply have to wait to be proven right, correct, brilliant and trustworthy.  I am more pompous than I could ever admit, and more of a burlesque show than I will ever know.   I keep performing on a stage, be it private or public.  It is so sad that I try to manipulate the creator and sustainer of this universe to fit into my expectations, and to validate my misgivings and imperceptions.  I need advent.  I have to be forced to pause and reflect.  I have to be made to stop and to be broken by the technology of this world that can short-out the microphone and muffle and nearly mute my voice, and cause me start and restart again in my hypocritical waiting.  It takes that kind of frustration to point out that even what I want to do for God’s glory is really probably only in final estimation for me.  I know I thought I wrote the meditation for God, and tried to connect the dots of a greater meta-narrative, but somehow got lost within the coordinates of the gps that called me to this place.  I am not the point.  I am not even a particle of the ink that fills the vacuity of a circle that will become the point on the paper of eternity.  My meager thoughts and weak murmurings cannot even begin to introduce the deep rhythms of a reconciling God that has written a redemption melody that plays in every heart, every breeze and every breath…

Jan
22

There should always be an opportunity to step back and realize that life did not end up the way you first thought, or maybe even feared.  The coke machine did not take your money, the napkin did not rip–even with the buffalo sauce, and the tire never fell off the minivan.  We always seem to believe that the worst will happen and that it will somehow destroy us, or at least bring us some sort of discomfort somewhere between nausea and major surgery.  Yet, we still inhale deeply and life is still crawling toward its ultimate end.   We try to accelerate existence and hope that we will not have to stop and ponder what we have made of it, but the moment will eventually overtake us and we will be forced to reexamine the mess of it.  What should you do when you come to the crust at the edge of a delectable slice of a piece of a pizza pie?  Do you simply continue delving into the barrier that has hemmed in the sauce and the toppings with little or no regard to its importance, or do you stop and realize the gift of water and flour and hand-tossing that has brought you this experience of sensory overload.  I am ashamed to admit that I often thoughtlessly toss it to the side when I am at Cici’s, because I want to save more room for the macaroni and cheese pizza that Josephine just bellowed into the buffet existence.  We have learned to gorge ourselves with very little thought to the actual tastes and flavor bonanzas that bless our palate on a regular basis.  We are never-present automatons that simply do not appreciate the importance of this exact moment and millisecond in the span of human history that we occupy and navigate.  We try to blur the lines and hope that no one will ever investigate our jumbo fun books and see that we never really learned how to color.  We did not even use the sharpener on the crayola box.  It is in mint condition.  We were not patient enough.  There was not enough time.  Halo, World of Warcraft and American Girl dolls were far more glamorous. It is time to unplug the clock, pull out a sundial and replace the pads and rotors of our lives.  We should indulge ourselves in the gift of the present and eat the crust, even if we have sold our souls to South Beach.

Jan
22

There should always be an opportunity to step back and realize that life did not end up the way you first thought, or maybe even feared.  The coke machine did not take your money, the napkin did not rip–even with the buffalo sauce, and the tire never fell off the minivan.  We always seem to believe that the worst will happen and that it will somehow destroy us, or at least bring us some sort of discomfort somewhere between nausea and major surgery.  Yet, we still inhale deeply and life is still crawling toward its ultimate end.   We try to accelerate existence and hope that we will not have to stop and ponder what we have made of it, but the moment will eventually overtake us and we will be forced to reexamine the mess of it.  What should you do when you come to the crust at the edge of a delectable slice of a piece of a pizza pie?  Do you simply continue delving into the barrier that has hemmed in the sauce and the toppings with little or no regard to its importance, or do you stop and realize the gift of water and flour and hand-tossing that has brought you this experience of sensory overload.  I am ashamed to admit that I often thoughtlessly toss it to the side when I am at Cici’s, because I want to save more room for the macaroni and cheese pizza that Josephine just bellowed into the buffet existence.  We have learned to gorge ourselves with very little thought to the actual tastes and flavor bonanzas that bless our palate on a regular basis.  We are never-present automatons that simply do not appreciate the importance of this exact moment and millisecond in the span of human history that we occupy and navigate.  We try to blur the lines and hope that no one will ever investigate our jumbo fun books and see that we never really learned how to color.  We did not even use the sharpener on the crayola box.  It is in mint condition.  We were not patient enough.  There was not enough time.  Halo, World of Warcraft and American Girl dolls were far more glamorous. It is time to unplug the clock, pull out a sundial and replace the pads and rotors of our lives.  We should indulge ourselves in the gift of the present and eat the crust, even if we have sold our souls to South Beach.

Jun
05

Their backpacking trip through Europe began on the brown line.  She left her corporate job and he had just graduated.  They will search the world for its beauty and enjoy an often- overlooked Croatia, but will they find the truth that is hot on their trail.  He is agnostic and she does not even have a name.  We stayed past our stop to hear their story and our novels were one, if even for 7 minutes.  I wonder where the guy with the banana seat bike with the hulk stickers was headed.  He had nice dreads and some rather serious guns that were almost unnoticeable because of his quiet presence.  The girl in the corner was lost in her blackberry and found something rather humorous about the day or the conversation she was overhearing. We descended to the street and stopped by the convenient store for some human fuel that propelled us to Union Station.  As we left there, we walked along the river until we met Denzel.  He wanted to talk and shared his opinions about the state of America and it’s dance with the devil.  He reminded us of God’s ultimate authority and told us that he could talk about God all day.  He never asked for anything except for our attention.  We then discovered the river taxi and headed to Michigan Avenue.  It was an amazing ride in spite of the rain that decided to try and distract us.  I was the king of the world for a moment, and then it was time to butt in at the Billy goat Tavern.  My man was behind the counter and he assured me that my triple cheese had extra cheese, and that he did that just for me.  We then prayed around the world at the tribune tower before heading north on Michigan during the rainy season.  We won the Disney challenge, and then headed to Chinatown.  We were so drenched by the time we got to the Evergreen that I took a couple of minutes to ring out and dry my t-shirt in the restroom.  We then enjoyed a trip to the bakery and a couple of stops in the stores.  We also took the time to visit the Buddhist friendship center.   It was time to be at Fourth Presbyterian before we knew it.  Our trip there brought out the stealth disco in all of us.  Two groups were already there and the fourth would not come for almost an hour.  We then headed to Giordano’s and were waited on by the most wonderful young lady from Romania.  Chicago is so vast that it lends itself to offer us freedom and even anonymity when necessary.  The 147 took us north and by some rather thought provoking advertisements from the Peace Corps.  The most memorable for me said, “Never have to start your sentences with ‘I should’ve’.  The day had begun with a reminder from Jesus about the need to be moved with compassion, and the necessity of asking the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into the plentiful harvest fields.  I should’ve paid more attention.  B-day Spice carried a bag with a bunch of .38 specials all over it and was annoyed by something.  Two guys with alternative lifestyles spoke in their preacher voices and laughed as they passed by a church.  Two guys cursed their way through plans to be the next featured video on youtube. A homeless man wanted money for a burger, but felt it was too far to walk to McDonald’s so that I could buy him one.  I try so hard too often.  I want to be liked.  I want people to think I am cool.  I want to be loved, and because of that you get lost in a world of me.  I am sorry that I missed so many of you yesterday.  I need to join the peace corps, because I should’ve…

Jun
05

Perched on the seventh floor, I watch from my circular room as people arrive for work and leave after their night’s stay.  A forest preserve rambles behind a dead end street that calls people to make up their mind.  What would the masses do differently if they knew an eye was following their movement?  We are watched more than we know.  There is less time for deeds done in secret, and I am ready for the public display of holiness that will shock our system into life superabundant.  We so often settle for less and call it even.  God is waiting and we are busy.  We are up to the mole on our forehead in hastily made decisions to do what everyone knows needs to be done.  That which is done satisfies our conscience as the suit clad man carries his laptop into the arena ready to provide solutions for your networking needs.  “I can increase your productivity and decrease your stress with one reasonable swipe of the credit card that you have already maxed out.”   Well, it’s the way it is for now.  This is just a season, and when I make it through I am going to spend more time with my family and enjoy some time on vacation.  Yet, the pills we all take might never give us enough staying power to even last through this season. We look forward to that day as we pass Bill and his streetwise presence trying to make it through the hour.  I don’t have time for you, or for today, because I’m living for that fictitious moment that will never arrive because of my own selfishness and the elusive patriot dream.  Bill is scraping pennies from the pavement as he smiles while we walk by wishing that we were not here for a myriad of reasons that constitute nothing more than a weak, ill-fated and unfinished score that got lost in the melody and forgot the tune.  As a matter of fact, “here” must be a four-letter word that has been determined a brief and necessary evil that that weighs us down and keeps us from then.  All the “thens” hold promise while our “nows” are overlooked and another car hesitates through a u-turn in frustration.  

May
22

go ‘head do yo thing

live ya life

make yourself happy

 

walk on me

stomp hardly

rub the mud deep

i hope i’m a good mat

 

slingin’ my love out

far and wide

yet most of it comes back

like a boomerang

 

same old energy

still no synergy

but it takes 2 horses

to pull loads of consequence

 

i am not your choice

lift your voice

tell your story

Lord, help me listen

 

may your call lead

may i follow hard

never caring

while always caring.

May
22

Life is some kinda thing

he likes me

she not so much

 

I notice the changes

time rolls away

days disentegrate

into months and lifetimes

 

is today better

how can i help?

will it improve?

 

longing for acceptance

looking for belong

 

he sells papers for a buck

grinning through wind and snow

recognized today

 

full of self

i worry and wonder

wishing i didn’t care

but so full of it

 

me separates you

May
14

 

I felt wronged again this morning.  The fitness center improperly suspended my membership.  It was not my fault.  It was not Heather’s fault, either.  Yet, I “gots to get mines” as some would say.  I tried to help them understand that their business practices were less than desirable.  I told them how they could do a better job next time.  I was an innovative presence.  Yeah, right.  Why do I have to always be right?  I know the answer, and I do not like it anymore this time than the last.  I am American.  I deserve good service.  I deserve for people not to make errors with my credit card.  I deserve to receive some sort of recompense for other’s inability to perform their job.  I deserve to be treated as royalty even though my car has 221,000 miles.  I should be treated just like all the other rich customers.  I am intelligent and should be recognized as creative and…Oh my goodness.  The end is nowhere in sight.  I wallow on headed for a better place.  The place eludes me.  Well, to be exact, I elude it.  I have chosen me over You and them again.  White Snake sings, “Here I go, again on my own/ Going down the only road I’ve ever known…”  I have heard of a better way, yet I travel this old pothole existence longing for something more.  I simply long too intermittently.

 

May I long continually for your better way.  Your way is best and leads to life, hope, joy and peace.  My way stumbles in and out of ditches and across the most rugged and horrific terrain.  My way is lonely and depressing.  Your way offers companions.  The journey is long and tiring as I trudge on through the endless night while your way offers unending day.  Break my ankles and feet.  Hold my hand and lead me on.

May
14

“I’ll meet you at Barley Island at 8:53.”  The plan was set.  I had more time to be Melissa and the girls.  We watched the 2 new Chuck episodes and laughed together.  I scurried out the door behind schedule, but there was no need to worry.  I was on my way to meet a friend who is never on time.  Of course, he was early on that particular night.  The restaurant was closed for a private party.  Where would we go?  O’Charley’s was mentioned, but I am not much of a fan.  Rhino and I got ran out of that place once after watching “No Country for Old Men”, not to mention the fact that they removed the B&B Nachos from their menu.  Anyway, I asked if he would be interested in Logan’s Roadhouse if my friend was working, and he said yes.  I called my friend, but he did not answer.  It was a good sign of the possibility that he might be working.  I then called his wife and found out for sure that he was working.  So, Logan’s it was.  Both of my friends were already seated when I got there, and I was greeted with ever-popular, “we were just talking about you.”  After the obligatory hugfest, we sat down and perused the menu.  Bill had to cash-out many of his servers as we sat there, but he was actually able to eat a meal with us.  Then, it happened.  I mean it always happens, but most of the time we are so frustrated or distracted that we never even notice.  The orchestration of events seemed like changes in the plans.  But, there were no changes.  There was a plan all along.  We just didn’t know about it.  Bill began to stutter as he told me that he called his wife after he heard from me.  He asked, “did you tell Danny to come and see me tonight?”  She answered no, mainly because she had not asked me.  She might have asked God, though.  It might have been like, “Lord, my husband is really struggling with some things…he really needs to talk with someone and start getting some things straightened out…could you maybe send someone…?”  I don’t really know if that is the way it played out or not, but Bill said that he had really felt kind of lost in the chaotic fracas of all that was disturbed and shaken.  Tyler, too, was struggling with the burden of this world and all of its idiosyncratic complexity.  Yet, Bill and Tyler were able to companion for a few minutes.  The two will pray for each other, and another link is made in the Kingdom.  I love my brothers, and join them in their journey begging for God’s intervention and provision. 

 

May You always redirect my plans, destroy my ideas and crush my pride.  May You always remind me that I am not and You are.  May I always find the refreshment of your path as mine fades into oblivion.  May my thoughts be erased and replaced with yours.  There is a world full of other people, yet my universe rarely expands beyond myself.  This Danny-centric universe is not even scientifically plausible, but I keep trying to make a case for it.  It has to end.  It must stop.  Please remove me from my finite impossibilities and allow me to partake in Your realm of infinite opportunity and assured possiblity.  May I exist only for You and nevermore for myself.

May
14

Word up!  These are some of the thoughts that reverberate in my soul as I wander the works prepared for me.  

It was an average Tuesday.  By proclaiming it average, I am in no way saying that it was not a day of spectacular revelation.  I had enjoyed many wonderful conversations that had transcended the physical realm and danced their way through the ultimate reality of our spiritual existence.  Yet, there is no way that I could have expected the turn of events that was about to present itself.  The sun finally fell into its 4 PM position and I made my exit from Shepherd community to meet cartoonist and artist extraordinaire Mike Altman (if you are reading this and need t-shirts designed, paintings for your home, temporary tattoos or your skateboard deck painted, check out mikealtman.com.  He is your one stop shop for all your creative needs).  We headed South of the Border to Garnachos on English Avenue.  Tuesday is dollar taco day, and it was time for chorizo, pork and chicken.  After I prayed for the meal, Mike rather abruptly asked, “If you could be more like Jesus in one way, what would it be?”  I wanted to stay away from my usual answer of compassion so I said that I wanted to learn how to engage people with questions and deepen conversations like our Savior.  Mike said that he would like to have the ability to know people’s pain, and be able to speak directly to that pain upon meeting them.  The tomatillo and cilantro were perfect fuel for the Value World tour that we were about to embark on.  Our first thrift store of the evening was located at 10th and Kealing.  There is nothing much better than a trip to Value World, especially when you have 50% off coupons in your pocket.  We laughed our way through people’s cast-offs, and yesterday’s popularity.  We even declared war on each other with nerf bullets in the back corner of the store.  I thought Mike was out of bullets so I came out of shelter to be shot first (I gave you your props, Mike), but then I shot Mike in the face on the way down.  I wish people the world around could have as much fun as we did with less than $25.  Old Navy, Hollister, Aeropostale and Louis Vuitton have nothing on the world of thrift.  I pushed the cart out to my car, and noticed a man frantically searching through his vehicle beside me.  I spoke to him, and he said that he had lost his keys.  Mike asked a couple of the obligatory have you, did you questions that everyone pummels those of us who have a tendency to lose things with.  Mike took the cart back in, and then came out in the direction of the dumpster.  Before I knew it, we were dumpster diving and having quite the time.  I picked up a conversion van console tv and vcr while Mike chose item after item and we discussed how I had seen those items on the shelf last week.  As we moved to dumpster two, the gentleman who had lost his keys had made his way to dumpster one.  He pulled out a bag from popeye’s chicken, and let out an expletive.  “I had my keys on my finger when I threw this bag away,” he said with depression running rampant through his countenance.  He had determined that his keys were in that dumpster.  We felt bad for the gentleman but almost left.  Mike said that we should probably go back and help.  We joined him and walked back through his story.  Mike positioned himself at dumpster 2, and I started passing stuff from dumpster one.  We were going to find those keys.  Not 2 minutes after we began our triune search, we heard, “I see them.”  Fred grabbed my hand in jubilation.  I encouraged him to move so that he would not injure himself and stepped up to fish his keys from the belly of the waste monster.  We naturally guided the conversation to the spiritual realm, and before you know it, we were talking about non-profit ministries.  Then, the unexpected happened as Fred pulled out a wad of cash.  There was a Benjamin showing and untold pastures of green beneath it held together by a money clip.  Mike told him to put it away before he lost it.  He proceeded to tell us that he had won it playing blackjack.  He said that he was skilled in mathematics, and that he did not gamble.  He explained that blackjack is based on statistical accuracy and can be determined rather precisely using some 700 calculations per hour while at the table.  (I could not believe what I was hearing.  The night before I went to the movies with the good doctor.  I told him that he could decide what film we were going to see, and he had chosen 21.  I called him after I left my divine appointment, and told him that he had not really chosen the movie.  His response, “I bet you are going to tell me that Jesus chose the movie.”  I said, “Well, I would say that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit chose the movie.”)  Fred proceeded to tell me that he knew the guy from the movie.  The rest of the time in the parking lot is really more than I should share in an open forum.  All I can tell you is that God directed Mike and I to a thrift store in the inner city of Indianapolis on April 29th at the exact right time to meet one of His children who had been struggling for a long time.  I did tell him at one point rather directly that God had sent us to him.  He said that it sounded rather stupid, but that it wasn’t really that stupid after all.  He said, “I knew I could talk to you.”  It is my prayer that everyone everywhere knows that my door is open, the coffee is brewed, the seats are comfortable and that they belong wherever I am.